The U.S. suicide rate has increased 24% since 1999. Therefore, in light of the fact that May is Mental Illness Awareness Month, we would like to present some helpful facts below:
A. Common misconceptions about suicide
FALSE: People who talk about suicide won’t really do it.
Almost everyone who commits or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Do not ignore suicide threats. Statements like “you’ll be sorry when I’m dead,” “I can’t see any way out,” — no matter how casually or jokingly said, may indicate serious suicidal feelings.
FALSE: Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy.
Most suicidal people are not psychotic or insane. They must be upset, grief-stricken, depressed or despairing, but extreme distress and emotional pain are not necessarily signs of mental illness.
FALSE: If a person is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going to stop them.
Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, wavering until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to die. Most suicidal people do not want death; they want the pain to stop. The impulse to end it all, however overpowering, does not last forever.
FALSE: People who commit suicide are people who were unwilling to seek help.
Studies of suicide victims have shown that more than half had sought medical help in the six months prior to their deaths.
FALSE: Talking about suicide may give someone the idea.
You don’t give a suicidal person morbid ideas by talking about suicide. The opposite is true—bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do.
B. Suicide Warning Signs
1. Talking about suicide
Any talk about suicide, dying, or self-harm, such as “I wish I hadn’t been born,” “If I see you again…” and “I’d be better off dead.”
2. Seeking out lethal means
Seeking access to guns, pills, knives, or other objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.
3. Preoccupation with death
Unusual focus on death, dying, or violence. Writing poems or stories about death.
4. No hope for the future
Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and being trapped (“There’s no way out”). Belief that things will never get better or change.
5. Self-loathing, self-hatred
Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, shame, and self-hatred. Feeling like a burden (“Everyone would be better off without me”).
6. Getting affairs in order
Making out a will. Giving away prized possessions. Making arrangements for family members.
7. Saying goodbye
Unusual or unexpected visits or calls to family and friends. Saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again.
8. Withdrawing from others
Withdrawing from friends and family. Increasing social isolation. Desire to be left alone.
9. Self-destructive behavior
Increased alcohol or drug use, reckless driving, unsafe sex. Taking unnecessary risks as if they have a “death wish.”
10. Sudden sense of calm
A sudden sense of calm and happiness after being extremely depressed can mean that the person has made a decision to commit suicide.
Please contact this number immediately if you see any of these warning signs in a loved one: 1- 800-273-8255
Susie Bean Gives Team